Southern Alberta Newspapers
In the two years since Medical Assistance In Dying became legal, close to 400 have chosen that option in Alberta, out of a nearly 4,000 across the country.
From June 17, 2016 to May 31, 2018, there were 392 Albertans who received MAID, according to the latest data on Alberta Health Services’ website. The first year, up to May 29, 2017, there were 143 cases.
Of the 392 in Alberta, there were 46 in the south zone, 137 in Calgary, 30 in the central zone, 156 in Edmonton and 23 in the north zone.
A total of 241 took place in facilities and 151 in the community. A total of 45 patients were transferred from a faith-based facility, or non-participating site to one that was participating. Seven were transferred from a non-faith-based facility to a participating AHS facility or the patient’s home.
The health conditions most cited as the reason for choosing MAID are cancer, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and advanced lung disease.
The average age of those receiving MAID is fairly consistent across the province, between 70 and 75 years.
The data available up until March 31, 2018 indicated 113 people requested MAID but did not meet the federal criteria for it. Some of the ineligibility criteria included death not being reasonably foreseeable, loss of capacity or competence and/or a mental health diagnosis.
Across the country there has been 3,714 Canadians to choose MAID since it became legal, according to the third interim report from Health Canada, which is planning to implement a permanent, national reporting and monitoring system for assisted deaths in the fall.
Based on limited data, the Health Canada report says eight per cent of requests for an assisted death were refused. The most commonly cited reasons were the patient’s loss of competency and that the patient’s natural death was not reasonably foreseeable, as required by the federal law. About five per cent of requests were withdrawn by the patient. Another 14 per cent died before the process of assessing their eligibility could be completed.